Sunday, July 21, 2013


By Roy W. Spencer, PhD, Earth System Science Center The University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, Alabama 35801

The State of Climate Science

My overall view of the influence of humans on climate is that we probably are having some influence, but it is impossible to know with any level of certainty how much influence. The difficulty in determining the human influence on climate arises from several sources: (1) weather and climate vary naturally, and by amounts that are not currently being exceeded; (2) global warming theory is just that – based upon theory; and (3) there is no unique fingerprint of human caused global warming.

My belief that some portion of recent warming is due to humans is based upon my faith in at least some portion of the theory: that the human contribution to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations has resulted in an estimated 1% reduction in the Earth’s ability to cool to outer space, and so some level of warming can be expected to occur from that change.

Exactly how much warming will occur, however, depends upon something we call “climate sensitivity” (Spencer & Braswell, 2010; 2011), and relatively few researchers in the world – probably not much more than a dozen – have researched how sensitive today’s climate system is based upon actual measurements.

This is why popular surveys of climate scientists and their beliefs regarding global warming have little meaning: very few of them have actually worked on the details involved in determining exactly how much warming might result from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Our most recent peer-reviewed paper on this subject, Spencer & Braswell (2013), has arrived at a climate sensitivity of only 1.3 deg. C for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide, based upon a variety of global measurements, including warming of the global oceans since the 1950s.

This level of warming is below the lower limit of 1.5 deg. C minimum predicted in the last (AR4) IPCC report. It is also in line with (an admitted minority of) other estimates of low climate sensitivity published in the peer review literature.

It should also be noted that the fact that I believe at least some of recent warming is human-caused places me in the 97% of researchers recently claimed to support the global warming consensus (actually, it’s 97% of the published papers, Cook et al., 2013). The 97% statement is therefore rather innocuous, since it probably includes all of the global warming “skeptics” I know of who are actively working in the field.

Skeptics generally are skeptical of the view that recent warming is all human-caused, and/or that it is of a sufficient magnitude to warrant immediate action given the cost of energy policies to the poor. They do not claim humans have no impact on climate whatsoever.

Temperature Changes in the Atmosphere and Ocean

While 2012 was a record warm year in the U.S. (at least in the ~100 years for which we have thermometer records) this was not true of the global average, which has not experienced statistically significant warming since about 1998. This is not surprising since the contiguous U.S. covers only about 2% of the Earth, and persistent regional weather patterns – warm or cold – are responsible for most record weather events.

The only truly global temperature measurements, unaffected by artifacts such as urban heat island effects, are for the bulk atmosphere from Earth-orbiting satellites, the methodology for which John Christy and I developed almost 25 years ago; all other measurements are at points and so are geographically incomplete.

 The satellite measurements reveal several significant features which are pertinent to our concern over human-induced climate change (all of the following points are also supported by the alternative version of the satellite-based temperatures from Remote Sensing Systems [RSS]):

1) The magnitude of global-average atmospheric warming between 1979 and 2012 is only about 50% that predicted by the climate models relied upon by the IPCC in their projections of global warming.

2) The level of warming in the most recent 15 year period is not significantly different from zero, despite this being the period of greatest greenhouse gas concentration. This is in stark contrast to claims that warming is “accelerating”.

3) The level of observed tropical atmospheric warming since 1979 is dramatically different from that predicted by climate models; it is below all 73 models we have analyzed the output from

Much more HERE

Senator Barbara Boxer’s Own Experts Contradict Obama On Global Warming

By James Taylor

Expert witnesses called by Sen. Barbara Boxer to testify during Senate Environment and Public Works hearings yesterday contradicted a key assertion made by President Barack Obama on climate change.

Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser less than a month before directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to impose costly new restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions, Obama said, “we also know that the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or 10 years ago.”

“I don’t have much patience for people who deny climate change,” Obama added.

However, climate scientists including United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead author Hans von Storch report temperatures have remained essentially flat for the past 10 years, and indeed for the past 15 years.  Storch told Der Spiegel that 98 percent of IPCC climate models cannot replicate the prolonged pause in global warming, and IPCC may need to revise its computer models to correct their apparent warming bias.

During yesterday’s Environment and Public Works hearings, Sen. David Vitter asked a panel of experts, including experts selected by Boxer, “Can any witnesses say they agree with Obama’s statement that warming has accelerated during the past 10 years?”

For several seconds, nobody said a word. Sitting just a few rows behind the expert witnesses, I thought I might have heard a few crickets chirping, but I couldn’t tell for sure. We’ll give Obama the benefit of the doubt and count the crickets in the “maybe” camp.

After several seconds of deafening silence, global warming activist Heidi Cullen, who formerly served as a meteorologist for the Weather Channel, attempted to change the subject. Cullen said our focus should be on longer time periods rather than the 10-year period mentioned by Obama. When pressed, however, she contradicted Obama’s central assertion and said warming has slowed, not accelerated.

Several minutes later, Sen. Jeff Sessions returned to the topic and sought additional clarity. Sessions recited Obama’s quote claiming accelerating global warming during the past 10 years and asked, “Do any of you support that quote?”

Again, a prolonged and deafening silence ensued. Neither Cullen nor any of the other experts on the panel spoke a word, not even in an attempt to change the subject.

Boxer may have envisioned her high-profile global warming hearings as an opportunity to build momentum for congressional or EPA action to restrict carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, the very global warming activists she called to serve as expert witnesses delivered a crushing blow to President Obama’s central justification for expensive new restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions.


Something Warmists ignore (They have to)

Following are some comments left by a reader of Climate Depot

Now that global warming seems to have stopped for the past 16 years (which clearly discredits the various computer-climate models--if not showing them to be models of junk science), I would like to make you aware of some under-reported research.

Many months ago, at a community meeting,  I met Ezra, and gave him a photo-copy of  an article from the British magazine, The New Scientist, and I told him I would contact him in the  near future to explain what the research discovered.  Unfortunately, I have been too busy, until now, to do so.

The article, by Stephen Battersby: “Meltdown: Why ice ages don't last forever”, is probably the best ever written on the various climate theories on why the atmosphere's temperature cycles up and down.   The main discussion revolves around the work of  professor Larry Edwards, an earth scientist from The University of Minnesota, who specializes in dating climate events.
Professor Edwards, has been able to show, that the many times in the last few hundred thousand years, when the temperature rose, it did so before CO2 rose.

This is huge, because what he has shown is the previous increases in atmospheric CO2 (as seen in ice cores) were not the cause of global warming--but rather the other way around—past global warmings is the cause of increases in CO2.

This illustrates a classic mistake sometimes made in science, mixing up “cause and effect.”  Why did this happen?  Because scientists did not have accurate time-lines before Edwards painstakingly worked them out.

What amazes me is that this article is over two years old, from the May 22, 2010 edition of New Scientist and should have upended the entire premise that CO2 causes global warming.

Climatologists should have reacted (as real scientists ordinarily do) and changed their theory (a hypothesis really) to fit  the newly discovered facts.

I hope you take the time to read this amazing article-- here is a link to New Scientist to give you a  head start in finding it :

This is a “must read” article, which includes other  hypotheses for global warming and cooling cycles, and the even includes a hypothesis for the increase and decrease cycles for CO2  (may be caused by ocean corals that release CO2 or absorbs CO2 when the earth warms and cools).

Via email

The heat is on coal electric plants from EPA

By Robert Romano

As the summer heat wave rolls on, electric utilities in localities across the country are asking customers to curb usage to avert brownouts.

With a growing population in the 21st Century, increased demand for electricity is a certainty, particularly in the summer months.

That means more power plants will be needed here in the future.

Instead, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations are threatening to shut down about 285 coal-fired power plants, says a recent analysis from an industry group.

“Regrettably, the number of coal units being forced to close continues to grow,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). “Yet, EPA continues to downplay the damage its regulations are causing to the U.S. economy and to the many states that depend on coal for jobs and affordable electricity.”

According to the ACCCE analysis, the hardest hit states are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Indiana. Nationwide, the number of actual plant closures is five times greater than EPA predicted would occur because of its regulations.

“Our country badly needs realistic energy and environmental policies that recognize the important role coal plays by providing affordable and reliable electricity. I hope the next Administrator will bring some balance to EPA’s regulations, but we’ll have to wait and see,” said Duncan.

Yet Gina McCarthy — slated to be the next EPA administrator, replacing Lisa Jackson — is no friend of coal. Nor will she do anything about rolling the agency’s carbon endangerment finding, which ruled that carbon dioxide, a biological gas necessary for the very existence of life, is a “harmful pollutant” under the terms of the Clean Air Act.

Nor will she repeal the EPA’s regional haze rule, carbon restrictions on new and existing power plants, and the “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants” that restricts mercury emissions from plants.

Sue-and-settle arrangements the agency enters with organizations will similarly continue. This is where a group sues demanding that the EPA enforce the law in a new, expanded way and the agency enters into a consent decree with the party, which is signed by a judge. This leaves the agency with new powers under the Clean Air and Water Acts.

And it’s only getting worse.

With all due respect to ACCCE, the problem will not be solved by the next EPA administrator somehow “bring[ing] some balance to EPA’s regulations.”

Nor will “wait and see” prove to be an effective strategy for an industry whose very survival is threatened. The damage is already being done.

Perhaps that is why ACCCE’s Duncan in a June 25 statement warned that if the Obama Administration “continues to adopt more regulations, coal power could cease to exist which would be devastating for our economy.”

It sure would be. That’s why a real fight needs to be waged — and soon.

To get back to normalcy, the already-enacted regulations need to be repealed by Congress. Any future regs should be submitted for congressional approval. And given Obama’s State of the Union threat to continue to pursue even more unilateral executive actions in lieu of climate change legislation, no nominee to the EPA should be confirmed.

And that’s just for starters.

Yet, Senate Republicans appear to have conceded that the agency’s existing rules will remain, to say nothing of the regulations yet to come.  In a recent deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, McCarthy’s path to confirmation without a filibuster was paved.

Which means that in the coming years, the American people should expect more rationing, more brownouts, and less electricity from utilities in the summer’s hottest months when we need it the most to keep cool. For, rather than building more power plants, the EPA appears hell-bent on shutting them down.

So, the heat is on coal. The question is what, if anything, anyone is going to do about it. Merely speaking out is no longer cutting it.


$487K Study of Viking Textiles During Little Ice Age To ‘Mitigate Climate Change’

The taxpayer-funded National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $487,049 grant to a Brown University archaeologist for her “three-year study exploring gender, textiles and society in Iceland from the Viking Age (ca. 874-1050) until the early 19th century.”

The "Rags to Riches" project “may also have practical applications in efforts to understand, and possibly mitigate for, the effects of changing climate in different areas of the world,” NSF spokesperson Peter West said in response to an inquiry from

Smith, a research scientist at Brown University’s Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, has been collaborating with other universities and archaeological laboratories in the U.S., as well as museums in Iceland.

Her research “will document and analyze women’s roles and women’s involvement in textile production” in order to “shed new light on women’s power within Icelandic households at different levels of the social system, providing a valuable contribution to social archaeological research in the North Atlantic,” according to the grant abstract.

“Women were also in charge of transforming cloth into clothing and, through that process, produced the most essential items of daily life – clothing, blankets, tents, and other utilitarian items – that buffered Icelanders against a changing climate and often-severe conditions during the Little Ice Age,” principal investigator Michele Smith said in the grant abstract.

The continuing grant was first awarded by NSF on July 1, 2010 and will end on June 30, 2014.

“By exploring the decisions that women made in transforming textiles – both domestic and imported – into clothing, this project will investigate the roles they played in establishing and changing markers of individual, family, regional, and national identity as well as decisions they may have made when facing increasing global climate cooling in the North Atlantic.”

West noted that “this research provides information about a relatively unknown historical phenomenon,” specifically “the historical roles of women in the economy of the North Atlantic over a 1,000-year period.”

When contacted by CNSNews with questions about the relevance of Smith’s research, West noted that congressional legislation supports activities to “Initiate and support specific scientific and engineering activities in connection with matters relating to international cooperation, national security and the effects of scientific and technological applications upon society.”

“The National Science Foundation’s mission and charter, as spelled out in its organic act, is to support fundamental research that adds to the knowledge base of specific disciplines,” said West. “While some NSF-supported research may, in some cases, have immediate benefits to economic activity, this is not the foundation’s role, as defined by congressional mandate,” he noted.

This project was “evaluated and supported as a result of a thorough examination of its intellectual merit and broader impacts in the NSF merit-review process,” West added.


EPA strikes out in anti-fracking campaign

The EPA has worked mightily to demonstrate that oil and natural gas production from hydraulic fracturing causes water contamination, yet it has struck out again.

Although it has backed away from other locations where it originally claimed potential fracking pollution, EPA tried with great fervor to prove fracking caused water contamination near Pavilion, Wyoming.

But once again, it couldn’t. The EPA announced in June it would no longer pursue its investigation but instead will allow the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) and the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) to take the lead in the scientific investigation of water quality at the site.

Initial Studies Flawed
The EPA’s initial report alleging potential fracking pollution, released in December 2011, contained numerous errors which it attempted to correct with a second study. The second study was also replete with errors.

Preexisting Water Pollution
If there is anywhere in the United States where the geology and history of oil and natural gas production might lead to water pollution from fracking, Pavilion was it. The geology was different from most other fracking locations and more easily susceptible to leakage of natural gas and chemicals into nearby wells. Also, there had been decades of local wells being contaminated by natural gas before fracking occurred.

Nevertheless, the idea that fracking was the cause of some area water pollution seemed unlikely from the outset, given the history of well contamination before fracking occurred. Local residents asked the EPA to investigate, hoping the environmentalist-friendly federal agency would establish fracking was the cause.

These residents now feel betrayed by their friend, the EPA, which has given up trying to link area water pollution to fracking.

It’s hard to believe the EPA would have abandoned its efforts if it wasn’t certain its previous reports were seriously flawed.

Environmental activist groups are up in arms over the turn of events in Pavilion, but if the EPA can’t prove fracking causes water contamination, who can?




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


1 comment:

John A said...

Ms. Tabirian or editors of CNSNEWS is stretching things a bit to highlight climate change here.

The taxpayer-funded National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $487,049 grant to a Brown University archaeologist for her “three-year study exploring gender, textiles and society in Iceland from the Viking Age (ca. 874-1050) until the early 19th century.”

A worthwhile project if done honestly, and cheap at that. But the reporter got a spokesperson to say that it may - MAY have other uses, e.g. about changing climate. Which it may, as would a study of European politics during the period, but that is not the purpose of the study.